KINGSPORT, Tenn.- With his back against the wall in two separate occasions, Kingsport reliever Mac Lozer pitched out of two bases-loaded, no-out jams to hand the Mets a series victory Thursday night with a 6-5 win over the Princeton Rays at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Following a seventh-inning RBI triple from Dan Hoy that gave the Mets a lead and a sacrifice fly from Raphael Gladu that added an insurance run, Pedro Perez (3-0) came back out in the eighth inning to try and nail down six more outs for a Kingsport (20-27) victory. However, the right-handed pitcher allowed the bases to be loaded with no outs to begin the frame.
In steps in Lozer (S, 2) who immediately induced a 4-6-3 double play ball to put two outs on the board and then got out of the inning with another groundout. A run did come in to score on the double pay ball off the bat of Kevin Santiago, but the Mets still had the lead in tact at 6-5 midway through eight innings.
Back for more in the ninth, Lozer gave up consecutive singles and then hit a batter to begin the frame. Once again, the bases were loaded with no outs. But just as he did in the inning prior, Lozer buckled down to strikeout Moises Gomaez, popped out Billy King and then induced a fielder's choice groundout off the bat of Jose Tonton to end the game.
Kingsport held on to take game 2 of the series 6-5 and to pick up its fifth series-win of the season.
Despite nearly blowing the game, Perez notched his third win of the season after tossing an inning-plus on the mound with one run of two hits and a strikeout. Lozer saved the game and was awarded his second save of the season following two innings of scoreless baseball with one strikeout. Both came in relief of Kingsport starting pitcher, Ezequiel Zabaleta, who pitched the first six innings of baseball while surrendering four runs off nine hits with three punch outs.
Zack Trageton (0-4), who was on the mound when the Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, took the loss after surrendering the two runs off three hits in two innings of work. Starting pitcher Easton McGee tossed the first five innings of the ballgame and surrendered four runs, three earned, off seven hits with one strikeout.
Prior to the late inning drama, it was Princeton that's truck first with a two-out rally in the first inning. Joey Roach singled with two gone and then came into score a batter later off an RBI double form Trey Hair for the first run. Two hits and two batters later, Billy King drove in Hair with a run-scoring single as the rays held a 2-0 lead over the Mets midway through one.
Kingsport evened the score in the second when Anthony Dirocie notched his Appalachian League-leading 38th RBI with a double down the left field line that plated Wagner Lagrange. Grabiel Jimenez followed with an RBI groundout to tie the game at two-all.
The inning that followed sported two more runs for the Mets to hand the home team their first lead of the day. Rigoberto Terrazas doubled down the left field line to score Hansel Moreno, who walked with one out, and then later came around to score on a throwing error from Rays' second baseman Hair.
Trailing 4-2, Princeton added one run apiece in innings three and five to tie the ballgame at 5-5. Gomez led off the fourth inning with his fourth home run of the season while Santiago singled in the former two innings later in the sixth to tie the game at four runs apiece.
The table was then set for Hoy and Gladu in the seventh before Lozer came into to pitch out of a couple of heated jams.
Princeton notched five runs off 13 hits in the game with two errors defensively. Three players recorded multiple-hit days while Gomez tallied three that included a homer and two runs scored. Kingsport managed six runs off 11 hits while three players recorded a multi-hit day. Gladu, Terrazas, Dirocie, Jimenez and Hoy each collected an RBI apiece while the other run was scored on an error.
The series finale is set to begin Friday night at 6:30 p.m. form Hunter wright Stadium. The contest will serve as Domtar Appreciation Night as Post-Game Fireworks will be lit following the game. Catch the action on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network beginning at 6:15 p.m. with the Braeden's Barbeque Pregame Show.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.